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Bud Black sticking with Greg Holland in closer’s role

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Rockies closer Greg Holland has had a rough go of it lately. He served up a walk-off three-run home run to Eric Hosmer on Wednesday, marking his third blown save in his last four attempts. Prior to Thursday’s game, the right-hander had given up 12 earned runs in his last five appearances, bumping his season ERA from 1.56 to 3.77. Holland gave up some hard contact on Thursday, but protected the Rockies’ 3-2 lead over the Royals.

Despite Holland’s recent struggles, manager Bud Black plans to stick with the veteran in the closer’s role, per MLB.com’s Thomas Harding. Black said, “We’ll talk about it, but my initial instinct is to keep Greg where he is. We wouldn’t be where we are without him, and he’s going through a bit of a tough stretch as far as making pitches.”

Black added, “His arm feels good. He still has confidence. We’ve got to get him to the point where he’s locating the slider, locating the fastball and getting that last out or making that last pitch to get the save. That’s been the case the last three times when he’s been one out away, one strike away, and just hasn’t executed that pitch.”

Through his August 4 appearance, Holland was 34-for-35 in save chances with a 53/18 K/BB ratio over 40 1/3 innings. His control over the last few weeks has disappeared and he hasn’t been missing bats at nearly the same frequency, as he has a 4/6 K/BB ratio in his last six innings of work.

If Holland’s struggles continue and Black is forced to make a change, Jake McGee or Pat Neshek would figure to get a shot at save situations.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.